University of Afpuddle Degree Ceremony To Go Ahead
Sources close to the University of Afpuddle's Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, Research, Sport, Commercial Outreach, Opportunism and On-Campus Betting have revealed that the University is considering reinstating "Face-to-face" "In Person" degree ceremonies for those overseas students willing and able to meet the necessarily high costs of the bespoke service.
Whilst the same sources were keen to stress that the majority of students were happy to pay the cut-price ≥$1,000 fee for the newly devised and rapidly-introduced On-line In Absentia Virtual Augmented Reality Degree Conferral Events which currently pass for the norm, market research had revealed that there is a significant overseas demand for the much more expensive individually-customised and massively enhanced "golden niche" [formerly "Standard"] service which actually involves "the physical hand-over of a piece of paper from a designated University of Afpuddle Administrative Officer to the graduating student on an individual or near-individual basis".
Naturally, since this will involve very significant additional administrative, travel, safety and security provision, the service cannot be offered to all and sundry but only those who can "help the University bear the costs of these additional burdens". It has been suggested that the ceremonies could take place in China where CONTRIK-69 is now in full retreat and which has the additional advantage of being close to where the majority of the students who can afford the service come from and are now living.
Ritual expert and life-long advocate of "safe" face-to-face ceremonial encounters Dr Hawthorn Straggleybeard [Master of Alma Mater College, Cambridge] applauded the University of Afpuddle's initiative and expressed the hope that other institutions, including his own, would soon appreciate the money-making benefits of the scheme and follow suit. "Degree ceremonies of this kind are part of the cultural warp and weft of ancient institutions such as ours. They are fundamental to our sense of moral integrity as well foundational viz-a-viz our institutional purpose and so part of our collective social as well as spiritual wellbeing. So much so that we have simply taken them for granted without realising their potential as a lucrative and reliable future revenue stream. Going forward I believe we need to think much more seriously about how we guarantee their survival and how degree congregations and similar gatherings can be monetarised for the greater good of the institution and for the enrichment of our community. To this end, I have asked my special adviser [aka our Development Director] to take the issue forward and develop fully-costed concretised proposals which will then subject to rigorous cost-benefit analysis with a view to full-market entry in 2021".
Dr Straggleybeard is author of Walking with the Wicker-man: Druids, Fluids and the Origins of Fire-Magic  Threadbone Spiritual Essentials No 2 The Threadbone Press.